Heading for right Royal chaos
Started by Jacobus
Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 23 total)
Wednesday 2 July 2008 at 08:40
Please excuse the brevity, typos and bad grammar in this post. I’m just taking ten minutes for a cup of coffee before heading off with a trailer full of sheep to the Royal Show. Unlike, I suspect, many others who will be arriving there in the next few hours, I know I will be heading for relative calm and pens in the sheep lines for me and the other competitors in my breed.
As everyone has no doubt heard, the Royal put out a press release last Wednesday saying that as the showground was destined to remain in the Surveillance Zone, cattle and sheep would only be admitted from that zone or from the PZ if fully vaccinated and certified. With a week to go before most people would be arriving, you would expect that the phones in the Livestock Office would have been red hot with staff contacting entrants from the PZ to see whether they would be going or not, but actually this isn’t the Royal way!
My phone started ringing yesterday afternoon. A competitor in our breed had arrived to find that there was penning for only four people in the breed. He and I both knew for certain that there was at least another who we had both spoken to a couple of days before. He tackled the penning contractors who showed him their paperwork. Everyone outside the SZ had been crossed off.
Mrs J arrived then on her way home from work to sheet our pens, followed by our breed society secretary. A few phone calls determined definitely that seven competitors would be there, not the four listed. The penning contractors were persuaded to push the Blue Faced Leicesters into the adjacent building and give us the pens we needed. During this time a Black Welsh Mountain breeder arrived, to find not only no pens for him, but none for any others in the breed he knew were already on their way. He is assuming that their classes have been cancelled and they will be in any other breed – but no-one had contacted him to let him know.
Whilst this is going on, another breed owner popped up to say that his breed society had offered to put someone in the Livestock office to phone everyone who had entered and create a list of who would actually be attending. This sensible offer was turned down.
If the Royal has assumed that all competitors from outside the SZ are not coming, they will have absolute chaos today as the bulk of competitors arrive.
Presumably this is the basis on which they have decided that there will be so few livestock there, that all sheep and cattle can be accommodated in the sheep building – leaving the cattle sheds completely empty!
Many of you will be aware that, since last year, the sheep building and the parking area behind it have been turned into a livestock market. Despite advice from their penning and cleansing contractors that it would be suicide to hold a market on Monday, and expect to have the place cleansed and penned ready for show sheep to arrive from Tuesday morning, the Royal chose to ignore this. The contractors were on site until 3.30 on Tuesday morning cleaning down after the market. They started work again at 7.00 on Tuesday. They are in no mood to be faced with hordes of pen-less exhibitors.
Oh yes, just one more thing, the traditional red dust floors of the sheep building are a thing of the past. Lovely new concrete is now laid. Just one thing though, livestock markets don’t feature lots of taps for bucket filling which were none too plentiful in the old building. Now there are none – the only source of water for livestock is the fire hoses!0#909325
Wednesday 2 July 2008 at 09:13
I sympathise Jacobus, it is a disgrace. If the organisers were resourceful and competent they would have done as you suggested, alas too many of them are full of self importance and love sticking their chest out instead of doing their job properly.0
Wednesday 2 July 2008 at 09:29
I refer you to my posting a week or so ago. The bowler hats were looking to blame DEFRA back then for the inevitable car crash. There’s an awful lot more to it than some minor maladministration of BT zones and vaccine.
Wednesday 2 July 2008 at 11:05
I’d like to say I’m surprised, but sadly I’m not. RASE and the Royal Show are a shambles and have been for several years, anyone there last year will bear testament to that.
Being stuck in the PZ and with other things to worry about this summer I took the option of not entering any pedigree stock, but did enter a pen of prime lambs (it was the cheapest way to obtain a caravan pass), however, until yesterday I had no entry passes for any stock or people – yesterday would have been the day I usually travel to the Royal to allow a decent amount of time for the stock to settle.
I’m heading up later today, so fully expect to be met by an army of irate stockmen, all perfectly justified in their complaints. Oh for a staff at RASE who actually know how to run a show!
Wednesday 2 July 2008 at 14:34
I know the last time we went to the Royal show a couple of years ago we were disappointed especially my dad as it was nothing like he remembered it. As other than the animal lines and equines there were only a few farmy stands then the rest just seemed like market stalls. Hence why we went to Grassland this year instead as although there were no animals other than a stuffed one there was more that interested us. Also my dad said that he’d prefer just going up to the county show rather the 3 or so hours to the Royal as other than being smaller scale is pretty much the same although now they have got rid of the shearing contest now.
Its a shame really as I can remember growing up and loving going up to the county show and then going around in the morning with my dad looking at all the machinery and getting free food at the different stands which he chatted to the reps. Now there aren’t really any of them there although you do get them and free food and drink at the plough match.
Thursday 3 July 2008 at 07:41
I’ve never attempted to enter the Royal,
a) because it’s far too expensive
b) they don’t have Dartmoor classes (they used to, apparently) and
c) I only ever hear negative comments from others who have exhibited there.
Surely if you pay that amount in entry and penning fees you expect a certain standard of service?
Thursday 3 July 2008 at 09:47
Come over to the Royal Welsh. Granted I don’t think there are Dartmoor classes, but it’s a fantastic show and streets ahead of the Royal, as the FWi poll demonstrates [:D]
Thursday 3 July 2008 at 10:56
Well I am here at the Royal and I have to say I feel rather sad about it. People are very thin on the ground at the moment and only three of the cattle sheds have stock in them. Coaches of children are starting to arrive which is starting to give the place a bit more of a buzz, but it is a long way form the show of 20 years ago. However, the rain is holding off for the moment…
Thursday 3 July 2008 at 11:27
I spoke too soon. It is currently sheeting it down. Should have a picture gallery up soon to show you…[um]
Thursday 3 July 2008 at 11:37
I agree with Isabel that the Royal has gone downhill. We started going probably 20 years ago and always complained that we never got to see everything in one day. Was it an illusion that over the years that the funfair got bigger, the stands selling tacky items became more numerous and the stock classes got smaller? We are halfway between Stoneleigh and Builth Wells but I can’t see us going back to the Royal, the Royal Welsh is much better.
I used to think that the further the show site was from urban areas the better the show[:)]
Thursday 3 July 2008 at 13:43
I am pleased to report that the sun has come out and numbers are rising. Looking around it does seem to filling up and someone has told me that he thinks there is more ‘farming’ stuff here than a couple of years ago….
Here’s some pics:
Thursday 3 July 2008 at 21:26
Townie, the Royal Welsh sounds great.. just the little matter of Bluetongue ( which i should have added as d) to my post above!) Hoping to come to Monmouth which does have Dartmoor classes, hopefully all will be in the same zone by then. [Y]
Thursday 3 July 2008 at 22:15
we are going tomorrow – it’s local
I remember well the shows of the seventies, eighties and early nineties
so sad to have seen it go down the pan like it has
I blame the RASE for trying to turn what was a show for farmers into a show about farming for the public, as well as charging extortionate rents
Thursday 3 July 2008 at 23:54
Well after a long day I am finally back. A bit knackered. Was good meeting some of the FW team, you know you you are [;)]…
Re. what the show is about… I think the RASE are responsible for turning the show into what it is now, but I dont think it is a bad thing.
RM1, you seem to be implying the show should be like a secret society for farmers. I personally think the show should be a show about farming and country life for those who arent part of it, to share it and be proud of it. If farmers are to stand any chance in years to come we have to embrace the public to a degree, show them what goes on, so they can see for themselves and not just listen to biased views of others.
Farmers have a good choice of pure farming shows to go to, why do we need one more?
If anything I would say that the show needs more displays of farming activities to show everyone what we are really about.
For me the Royal should be a show about farming for those who do not have the privilege to be involved.
Friday 4 July 2008 at 08:38
Like Tim, I had the pleasure of meeting Isabel and Caroline yesterday in the flesh, as it were, and learnt that there is obviously someone from the Royal who reads FWi forums as they thought some of my comments were unfair. So I would like to apologise unreservedly for the misleading impression I gave about the cattle at the show. They are NOT housed in the cattle pens in the Rugby Market area of the former sheep building, they occupy the top three bays of the (I think) ten bay cattle building.
In the sheep area, the penning contractors were kept busy up until 9 o’clock on Wednesday night, adding penning for arriving competitors. Given the circumstances they deserve a pat in the back! The stewards also deserve praise for reorganising classes and breeds on the hoof as people arrived but there is no doubt the back office staff have been out of their depth.
Conversations with two of the stewards confirmed that in fact more than one breed society, and other volunteers had offered support in phoning competitors on behalf of the Royal to confirm attendances but these offers were not taken up. In fact one of our competitors with an address in Wales telephoned the Livestock office three times to confirm that she would still be attending with her sheep not returning home to but to a friend in the English SZ. She still had no pens! One of the Cotswold breeders had no pens because his postcode is Oxford although he is actually in Gloucestershire so my conjecture is that the decision on whether people were coming or not was based on a postcode lottery.
We were entered in a small one day show at Ashby de la Zouche a week on Sunday. After the DEFRA announcement that Warwickshire would be in the PZ from Monday and as my postcode is a Birmingham one (B postcodes include a large area in North Worcestershire and Warwickshire) they show rang me yesterday to find out which county I was in and whether I would still be going or not. If a small show can do this why not the Royal?
Anyway – back to the Royal. One question most people have been asking is “where on earth would they have put all the sheep if Bluetongue restrictions weren’t affecting numbers?”.
One camp seems to think that they would have used the NSA building (which has an area between one third and one half of the ‘lost’ cattle area of Rugby market. The other assumes they would expect us to occupy the cattle penning area of the market. What are sheep exhibitors reactions to these?
NSA building – little or no lighting; uneven stone chipping floors; well they would have improved the building first wouldn’t they; not big enough.
Cattle pens – like a prison; we just wouldn’t come.
While I’m in an apologetic mood, I should also comment about the water situation. There IS a tap. Unfortunately the spare bales of straw were stacked in front of it so until they were used up no-one knew it was there!
On another aspect of straw – it seems that the Livestock office instruction to the contractors was to put out one bale of straw per four pens. A woefully inadequate rate, never mind all the extra pens which ended up being built. Extra straw was brought but was soon exhausted by Wednesday night. Theoretically there should be deliveries of fresh straw twice a day – but there were none at all yesterday, at least not before I left the showground in the evening.
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